Nuding Leads Goldeyes to 3-2 Win
WINNIPEG, MB – It was Bark in the Park Night at Shaw Park and while there is no reason to believe the dogs were impressed with Zach Nuding’s performance, it’s pretty certain the human fans loved it.
Playing in front of a crowd of a terrific crowd of 6,415 at Winnipeg’s downtown ballpark on Saturday night, Nuding took a no-hitter into the seventh inning as he led the Goldeyes to a thrilling 3-2 win over the visiting St. Paul Saints
As a result, the Goldeyes improved to 17-11 on the season while St. Paul fell to 18-10. That leaves Winnipeg one game behind the Saints in the race for first in the American Association’s North Division. It also means that Winnipeg evened this three-game series up at one win apiece and with a win on Sunday, the Goldeyes can pull into a first-place tie with the Saints.
Although the Saints scored two in the second innings, Nuding did not give up an earned run and when he was taken out of the game by manager Rick Forner after 7.1 innings of work, he had given up only two hits, walked five and struck out three.
“It was a really well-pitched game by both teams,” said Forney. “We just made a few more good pitches than they did today. Zach’s been scuffling with some inconsistencies early this season, but he rose to the occasion today. It was a very important game for our club. He was great for us.”
St. Paul scored both of their runs in the second inning without registering a hit. Tony Thomas walked to lead off the inning and moved on to second after a Tim Colwell was safe on a throwing error by second baseman Mason Katz. Maxx Garrett bunted Thomas over to third and Colwell and Thomas came home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jon Kerstoffersen. However, the throw from leftfield deflected to the backstop and Colwell scored on that throwing error. Two runs, no hits and St. Paul had the lead.
The Goldeyes cut the St. Paul advantage to 2-1 in the third when Andrew Sohn doubled and scored on a single by David Bergin.
Winnipeg took the lead for good in the fifth when Sohn hit a solo homer to right to tie the game and then Bergin hit a solo home to left to give the Goldeyes a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. It was Bergin’s third home run in the series and his eighth of the season.
Nuding held the Saints hitless until Garrett lined a single leading off the seventh.
“I just tried to throw strikes the whole game,” Nuding told the CJNU post-game show. “Luckily for me, it was working, and I was getting ground balls and pop flies. I tried to carry that momentum from inning to inning so we could get our sticks alive, especially against a good team like that.”
Nuding (2-3, 5.86 ERA) got the win while closer Ryan Chaffee pitched 1.1 innings of hitless baseball, with two strikeouts, to pick up his ninth save of the season. Saints’ starter John Straka (3-3, 6.03 ERA) suffered the hard-luck loss.
The Goldeyes had nine hits as Sohn finished with a career-high four and raised his batting average to .320. Wes Darvill went one-for-one with three walks and raised his batting average to a team-leading .385 (third in the American Association). Bergin went two-for-four with a run scored and two driven in, including the winner.
The rubber match of this important early-season three-game series will go Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Edwin Carl (2-0, 2.78) will get the start for Winnipeg while right-hander Jason Creasy (2-2, 3.96) will start for St. Paul.
Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports
Photo by Dan LeMoal